When rumors started floating around in early June about a possible 10th Anniversary Remaster for Tales of Vesperia, I was incredibly excited. Not only is this game one of my favorite Xbox 360 games of all time, it’s one of my favorite JRPG games of all time as well.
So when an official announcement for the Definitive Edition of the game was made with a trailer at E3 2018, I was ecstatic.
Tales of Vesperia is a game that holds a very special place in my heart, and I have tried, on countless occasions I might add, to get fans of western RPGs involved in JRPGs using this title as a entry point, so that they too can experience the wonderful world of the Tales franchise.
But as much as I can gush about Tales of Vesperia in this article, which is a lot, it’s not my favorite Tales title. That privilege goes only to Tales of The Abyss, a game that is now almost 13 years old.
Tales of The Abyss originally released in December of 2005 in Japan exclusively for the PlayStation 2, less than a year after which it got a western release. It was met with favorable reviews.
Now I can’t talk about this game without letting my bias seep into the writing, but trust me when I say that if you’re a fan of the JRPG genre, you need to give Tales of The Abyss a chance. It’s not something you haven’t seen before in terms of gameplay, especially if you’ve played some of the more recent Tales games, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. On the contrary, the combat system is fantastic and gets more intense and strategic as you play through the game and unlock new Artes
Where the game truly shines however is with it’s narrative. I obviously won’t spoil anything, but Tales of The Abyss has one of the best stories, if not the best, in the entire Tales franchise.
The main cast is diverse and likable, and the protagonist in particular has the best arc of any character in the entire series. I didn’t know character development mattered to me as much as it does now until I played through this game, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I might have gotten teary eyed even during my third playthrough.
The game does fall into some cliche fantasy tropes over the course of it’s run, which is disappointing, but not a deal breaker in any sense. It still has enough of a unique twist on them though that the story never actually managed to get stale for me even 20 plus hours into the game, although that could be the bias talking.
You can still play Tales of The Abyss now on your PlayStation 2 if it still works, or try the Nintendo 3DS port that came out in 2011, though the game does show it’s age on both platforms. Personally I enjoy having a controller in my hand as opposed to fumbling around with a touch screen.
This game is special, and I’m genuinely disappointing that more people don’t know about it. That’s also why I think Tales of The Abyss deserves an updated release just like Tales of Vesperia, though I’m not absolutely sure we’re ever gonna get one.
Hell, other entries in the franchise like Tales of Legendia could also use some much needed love, so what would it take for Bandai Namco Entertainment to give us fans an updated collection of the older titles? Maybe if Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition sells well?